Pima Community College sports

Pima women look to close out season with win in NJCAA D2 seventh-place consolation final

Sabino graduate Amelie Buffill-Gutierrez scored a season-high 16 points in Pima’s win Friday (NJCAA photo)

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team will play its final game on the final day of the season after producing a balanced attack on Friday in an 88-67 win over Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Tech at Joplin, Mo.

The No. 13 Aztecs (26-9) move on to the seventh-place consolation finals against No. 10 Harcum (Pa.) College on Saturday at 10:00 a.m., Tucson time.

Pima led 49-43 on Friday with about seven minutes left in the third quarter.

Sophomore Jordan Joe drained a 3-pointer, which launched a 14-0 run over the next five minutes.

Freshman Rylei Waugh’s 3-pointer gave Pima its biggest lead of the game at that point at 63-43.

The Aztecs outscored the Rockets 22-12 in the quarter and led 65-48. The Aztecs went 11 for 17 from the field.

SAU Tech cut Pima’s lead to 13 points in the early minutes of the fourth quarter with the first four points to make it 65-52 but that’s as close as they would get.

The Aztecs took their biggest lead of the game when they used an 8-0 run to make it 85-63 with two minutes left.

There were three ties in the first half but the Aztecs held a slim lead for much of it.

With the game tied at 31 with 3:39 left, freshman Amelie Buffill-Gutierrez (Sabino) hit a jumper and fellow freshman Gabby Lopez (Bisbee) hit a 3-pointer. The Aztecs scored seven of the final nine points of the half to take a 43-36 advantage.

Pima outrebounded the Rockets 46-25 and grabbed 15 offensive boards. They shot 54.7 percent from the field (35 for 64) and went 12 for 15 from the free-throw line.

Waugh and Joe tied for the game-high in points as they both scored 17. Waugh fell short of a triple-double as she added nine rebounds and seven assists. She also had two steals.

Joe could not miss as she went 7 for 7 from the field and 3 for 3 from beyond the arc. She had five rebounds and three assists.

“I was able to get those shots with the help of my team as they trust me to take those shots,” Joe said. “I may not be taking many shots, but I make them count. The team balance has been on point the whole tournament as this is the best we have ever played. Everyone does their part, and everyone is playing well.”

Buffill-Gutierrez scored a season-high 16 points as she went 5 for 7 from the field and 6 for 6 from the foul line. She finished with three assists and two steals.

“It felt really good. We’ve practiced shots since August and the work shows. I’m happy to have helped the team both offensively and defensively for one of our best games as a team,” Buffill-Gutierrez said. “We knew we had to get up on their shooters and get the ball into the middle to break the press and I think we executed really well.”

Lopez posted a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds to go with four assists. She went 7 for 12 from the field.

Freshman Rori Hoffmeyer also scored in double figures as she posted 14 points along with seven rebounds. Sophomore Dominique Acosta (Nogales) contributed with eight points and six rebounds.

 “We are very confident but also aware Harcum is a good team and we can never go into a game assuming we’re going to win,” Buffill-Gutierrez said. “I think our chemistry is the best it’s been, and we know we’ll have to play our best and hopefully we can close out on a win.”

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